Wages for Housework answer

May 31, 2017

The correct answer is (c).

The Wages for Housework movement was a feminist movement that saw capitalism as the main perpetrator of the oppression of women.  Specifically, members of the movement drew attention to the fact that the existence of capital depended upon the unpaid labor of reproducing the working class (i.e., keeping wage workers able to work), usually performed by women.  The women who performed this work contributed as much to capitalist profits as [mostly male] wage earners did, but their work was labeled as fulfilment of a biological destiny rather than labor in service to capital. By forcing capital to pay for labor-power in the home as they would for other labor power, they hoped to diminish capital’s ability to profit from unpaid labor.  As Silvia Federici, one of the movement’s major theorists, wrote, “We live every minute of our lives in service to capital, and it is time to make capital pay for every minute of it” (“Counterplanning from the Kitchen,” 1975, republished in Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle).  The idea of wages for housework entered the political mainstream–Daniel Patrick Moynihan proposed it, for example, in the context of welfare reform–but did not come to fruition.  As Federici notes, it is a revolutionary demand, in the sense that it is incompatible with the continued functioning of capitalist production.


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